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Full text of "Catalogue of temporary exhibitions, May 1919."

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MAY, 1919 






MAY. 1919 



I am told that these pictures come under the head of 
Cubism, in that they are composed of forms and colours 
of objects in Nature arbitrarily put together in harmonious 
relation. They are not Representations of Nature, but 
Interpretations, based upon a certain particular interest in 
the subjects which form their motif. They aim at being 
truthful impressions, not primary but secondary ; that is, 
expression of what remains in the memory after continued 
observation, not the immediate record of any given moment 
or place. 

Tropical rish are actually among the most brilliant 
things in Nature, comparable only to butterflies and jewels; 
they even appear brilliant beneath many feet of water, as 
do masses of coral, fans and certain sponges. The variety 
and relation of the colours seen among the coral rocks 
leaves in the mind an impression of something far more 
vivid than the colours actually are, owing to the sheen and 
flicker of light and movement ; therefore an accurate tran- 
script from Nature, if it were possible, would be actually 
far less truthful than the truth interpreted in terms of 
memory. What we retain from study is more important to 
us than the truth entire. 

It is the imposibility of attaining Absolute Truth 
which develops in Art the various interpretative schools of 
painting each of which has its own standards and aims. 
The conventional methods of expression are entirely satis- 
factory within their limits, but as every method is only a 
convention invented and pursued to its logical conclusion, 
so it is right and natural to attempt new conventions to 
interpret what has hitherto not interested the artist or has 
been regarded as inexpressible. 

Certain patterns produce movement until the flat sur- 
face seems to be alive, certain curves suggest slow or rapid 
motion, as angular lines suggest a different impulse. With 
things that are in continual motion we have the choice of 
drawing them accurately in one position and supplying 
the motion from imagination, or departing from the known 
forms to suggest the infinite variety that we really see as 
separate pictures in rapid succession. 

The dead fish that do duty in company with a beaker 
of wine and a split lemon for still life do not interpret any- 
thing of the life and happiness of a fish in water. The 
scientific diagram from which the various kinds of fish can 
be identified are to me no better. My pictures do not attempt 
to compete with them, their aim is to be everything that 
they are not, to describe the joy of the fishes' life, the beauty 
of marine growths, the wonder of one who loves to watch 
the Mystery-play of their lives. 

The excitement and interest of fishing with rod and 
reel for the great sea-dwellers is a thing as incomprehensible 
to those who do not fish as the joy of chasing a little ball 
with a club from one hole to another to others who do not 
play golf. The leaping flash of a living ingot of silver 
a yard long from sea like a breathing sapphire in an emo- 
tion, the rush of any great fish is an incommunicable ex- 
perience. A hundred Yellowtails over a park of purple 
sea fans, the Angel fish among their rock palaces, the sil- 
ver Pompanos and Shad on their lawns of sand, the various 
Parrot fish with their impossible magnificence — to some 
these may mean food or sport alone, to me they are the 
peoples of another world no less beautiful than our own 
where there is Love and War, but no sin other than ill- 
health. If there is God upon earth there is certainly God 
in the deep sea. Pictures, if puny prayers are yet an act 
of worship which some may respect, albeit others may find 
them excessively ridiculous. 

The imagination is a finer medium of vision than the 
eye ; the eye records what is seen at a given moment, but 
any photograph of rapidly moving objects will convince 
us that what we see is not the exact truth. Photographic- 
truths are often completely untrue both to the eye and the 
imagination, but whereas the eye makes a final statement, 
the imagination can construct a sequence of events endow- 
ing them with life and movement if it is sympathetically 
approached. Shapes as we know them, presuppose the sub- 
ject at rest; what we actually see of things in motion re- 
quires a new convention. A line which in one place indi- 
cates the edge of something may equally be used to suggest 
direction of movement. To me interrupted lines convey 
the idea of movement in a marvelous degree and I find that 
figures may be broken and distorted in many ways without 
destroying their beauty as such, if all the lines have a cer- 

tain degree of truth and the several shapes and masses 
created are in equilibrium. 

I have spent several years in various parts of the Ba- 
hamas, and have known the sea in many climes. I have seen 
intense blues in the Mediterranean and about the Channel 
Islands; I have never been sure that it was very different 
there from the colour of the Indian Ocean or South Pacific. 
But the Bahamas have one thing that is not found in any 
other part of the world, vast expanses of shallow sea whose 
greatest depth at any tide may not be more than two fathoms. 
There are few places where one may sail in a boat miles 
from land and be able to get out and walk knee deep in 
perfect security collecting sponges, shells or fans. These 
shallows upon leagues of immaculate sand, take on a colour 
that can be seen nowhere else, not the deep blue of the 
Caribbean Sea though there is plenty of water deep enough 
for the deepest blues, but the "White waters," pale green, 
pale azures and mauves in which the pelicans love to fish 
and long shanked birds wade between the sand flats, are 
not found elsewhere. These are the sponging grounds where 
sponges of all kinds, from the coarse black loggerhead to the 
silky reef sponge, are hooked up with long poles ; plumes and 
feathers and fans of vivid violet and yellow are found 
there, as well as in the patches of coral rocks which are 
the towns and villages of the sea people. With a glass 
bottomed bucket one may watch them as easily as if in an 
aquarium. I have sat on the bottom of the sea in a diving 
hood thirty feet below the surface, among shoals of incred- 
ible fish within arm's length, for they exhibit no fear of 
a diver at all. I do not doubt they would take food from 
one's hand if one sat quite still for a long time. 

The Fijian pictures were painted in New York from 
studies I made during the year spent in the South Sea 
Islands. While travelling I made sketches of all sorts of 
things which I soon found to be valuable only as notes 
upon which to base my impressions, and I felt that paint- 
ing with a "broken French accent" amid surroundings so 
entirely new to me did not give a truthful interpretation 
of all I saw and felt, and it was this that turned my atten- 
tion to the schools of Modern Art, which at that time I 
despised, and by which I was most unwilling to be influenced 
in any particular. The choice comes to every artist at 
some moment of whether he will paint what he can or go 

a-seeking for what he is pretty sure he can't. In the first 
case he may become widely respected, in the second he does 
not lose his own respect. It came to me through the rhythm 
of Yakamololo, a concerted dance performed by the men 
of a Fijian village seated in long rows upon the ground . 
Every meed of movement is used from the gentle gesture 
of a ballerine to the vigorous hook and swing of the boxer. 
Shining with cocoanut oil and garlanded with wreaths of 
mango leaves or coloured crotons, the dancers move like 
a shoal of fish as though impelled by a common soul. From 
earliest childhood every Fijian learns to swing his hands 
when he sings, and he always sings. Meke is the history 
and literature of the people, it is contemporary celebration, 
personal compliment, something more vital than religion 
to them. The white officials in Fiji regard the ceremonial 
yangona drinking and the ceremonial dancing as tiresome 
hindrances to the day's work, for without ceremony the 
Fijian will not do anything and the British are wise enough 
to respect the customs of native peoples — after long appren- 
ticeship and much tribulation. 

Many years ago John LaFarge went to Fiji and made 
a few exquisite studies of the people and their ceremonies. 
As pictures, records, poems, they are superb, but they are 
not vakamololo. The feeblest convention insisting upon 
the inspiring swing of those live brown gods in unison means 
more to me than perfectly still shapes selected from imag- 
inary moments which is the best the former methods of art 
can express. 

I did not adopt a new art ; I doubt if anyone does : 
art as an adopted child is always a changeling for the 
child of experience. The sights and sounds of the South 
Seas were a new impulse which found its own expression 
in these pictures and they are a true interpretation to me of 
a life I hope to renew if ever occasion offers again, for 
there is very much work to be done by a sympathetic artist 
and antiquary where at present there are none but money- 
grubbing hunters, store-keepers and overworked Govern- 
ment officials. 

Nassau, Bahamas. 




To offer for public approval an exhibition of such 
personal and modern tendencies as is this one without a 
few words in explanation of the motive of the artist is 
something like asking the Australian Bushman to purchase 
a modern tractor and cultivator without explaining to him 
its uses and workings. In the splendid preface which Mr. 
Haweis has prepared for the catalog of his paintings he 
has left little to be said relative to his plans and purposes. 
It remains however to briefly sketch his life and artistic 
training and add a few further critical notes. 

Stephen Haweis was the son of gifted parents. His 
father was an Anglican clergyman, for many years Incum- 
bent of St. James Church, Marylebone, London, one of the 
five Crown Chapels, appointment to which was the gift of 
the King. Rev. Haweis visited America a number of times, 
lecturing on music and literature. His mother wrote sev- 
eral books, many papers on art and dceoration, and adapted 
Chaucer for the use of school children. Mr. Haweis' grand- 
father and great grandfather were both clergymen promi- 
nent in their time, while his mother's father was a portrait 
painter of the school of Sir Thomas Lawrence. 

Stephen Haweis was educated at Westminster School. 
London, at at Peterhouse, Cambridge, after which he went 
to Paris, studying there under Alphonse Mucha. He did 
much photographic work for Rodin, by whom he was intro- 
duced to Eugene Carriere, whose pupil he became. Thru 
Rodin he also met the great Belgian sculptor and painter 
Constantin Meunier. Other artists, Charles Morice, 
Whistler and Charles Conder among them, influenced his 
work. He exhibited at the Salon of the Champs de Mars 
for many years, at the Salon D'Automne from its beginning, 
and was a member of the Salon des Independants. Tiring 
of only speaking the language that others had spoken be- 

fore, he sought a new form of expression and to begin his 
quest made a trip in 1913 to the South Seas where experi- 
ences would be entirely new to him and subject matter 
hardly touched, for only Gauguin at Tahiti and John La 
Farge in one visit to the Fijis have ever dipped into the 
vast store of material, and neither of them had the aims of 

With his departure for the South Seas the first phase 
ot his art came to an end. The present exhibition contains 
one painting representing this period, that called Forte 
dei Marmi, Liguria, done in 1910. It is a good example 
of impressionistic painting, showing the influence of the 
great masters of that school ; but it says nothing new. It is 
true that civilization has persisted for so long and man has 
always been so busy expressing his thoughts that perhaps 
there is very little new to say. But one may at least ex- 
press old thoughts in a new form. So it was this dissatisfac- 
tion in telling the old story in a way which, while not es- 
pecially old, at least had many apostles already, that induced 
Haweis to become a wanderer. He chose the South Seas 
partly because they had attracted him from his earliest 
youth. His first interest was brought about thru a case of 
relics sent his grandfather from Tahiti by the missionaries 
to the Island, whom he had helped to send there. 

The next three paintings in the exhibition, A Fijian 
Village; Loma Loma, Fiji; and Native House, Fiji, (Nos. 
2, 3 and 4) may be said to represent the transition. On 
arriving in the islands he retained for a time the first dai- 
lect of his artistic language. These three oils however 
begin to show a new handling. Perhaps there is just a 
faint trace of Post Impressionism. If so, the influence was 
unconscious, and the treatment is due more to the exotic 
nature of the subject than to any desire to affiliate with 
the new movements. 

In the native Fijian dance, the Yakamololo, he found 
his first new inspiration, and to that may be traced 
the future developments in his art. In any pictorial 
presentation of this ceremony the essentials are the 
movement and rhythm. To adequately represent them 
he first attempted to adapt the Indian custome of 
multiplying limbs to indicate motion. The pictures num- 
bered 5 to 12 in this exhibition show well the results of his 
efforts. The multiplication of limbs is especially apparent 

in Rotary Movement, Yakamololo, where we feel the swing 
of the arms and the sway of the bodies. In the first Fijian 
Dance ( No. 8) he is perhaps most successful in the intro- 
duction of arbitrary curves to accentuate this impression 
of motion. Here, more than in any other of the series, has 
he suggested the rhythmic movement of the bodies. In 
War Meke (No. 15) again he has been very successful 
in depicting the measured, heavy tread of the warriors. 
The entire Yakamololo series is a group of sketches for 
friezes. The repetition and rhythm found in them ar<> 
equally necessary for a proper representation of the sub- 
ject and for a well composed and balanced frieze. 

From the multiplication of limbs he progressed by ac- 
cident to a system of broken lines, his theory being that by 
the use of the arbitrary curves already noticed and by break- 
ing the lines of his composition a better effect of motion 
was produced without undue distortion of the figures. His 
object, "the expression of the inexpressible" as it has been 
called, or the attempt to show change of position, light and 
color in one picture, has forced him into the ranks of the 
modernists, and his works have been classed as cubistic, 
tho in their simplicity and economy they show slight traces 
of Post Impressionism, and are still allied to the older 
schools by the desire for pure beauty of color and design. 
But above all they are distinctly individual, and so can 
hardly be attached to any school. 

The drawings of the Fijian period, representing heads 
of natives and native chiefs are of admirable quality, and 
give evidence of the sound technical training which he had 
received, as well as his ability to express racial character- 
istics with a few simple strokes of his pencil. They give 
further promise to that furnished by his early paintings 
of the success which he might achieve along more conven- 
tional lines than those which he has chosen to follow. 

After a year spent in the South Seas he arrived at 
San Francisco and proceeded to New York by way of 
Panama, where he worked up his sketches into finished 
paintings. Having been refused for service in the British 
army in 1914, he went to the Bahamas and there found an 
even more fertile held from which to reap subjects peculiar- 
ly ritted to his manner. In the clear shallow waters of the 
sea gardens where grow coral, sea fans, and sponges, and 
where live fish of many varieties, the secrets of the sea art' 


revealed in their most brilliant coloring to him who will 

observe them thru the glass bottom boat or bucket. 

Among the last group now displayed (Nos. $6 to 77) 
are some of the results of Mr. Haweis' intense study of the 
sea life around Nassau. Those pictures which show the 
sea gardens were designed as mural decorations for the 
cabins of yachts, aquaria, and museums of natural history. 
Their charm lies in their decorative pattern and color and 
in the success with which they represent not an impression 
of a momentary phase of life, but a succession of events, 
as does the Young Grouper (No. 56) where the movement 
of the fish, the swirl of the water produced by that move- 
ment, and the changing color are admirably reproduced. 
This painting, as well as most of the others is not a photo- 
graphic reproduction, but the result of many long hours 
of careful study which have combined to produce a vivid 
impression of a series of rapid changes, all of which have 
been blended into a single picture. As a colorist Mr. Haweis 
ranks high. Beautiful as is the pattern in his pictures, the 
color is by far the most striking feature. 

Two honors have recently come to the artist. In 1918 
he was appointed to direct the decoration of the shelters on 
the battle front and in the reconstructed villages of the 
invaded districts of France. While he was prevented from 
going over by various circumstances, he was asked to under- 
take the decoration of a War Memorial Chapel in the 
Church of St. Francis Xavier, Nassau, Bahamas. Here 
he has executed twelve paintings — his first venture into 
the realm of religious art, and at the same time the first 
instance of ecclesiastical decorations showing a strong in- 
fluence of the modern movement in art. In the simplicity 
and dignity of the draperies, they approach the magnificent 
Byzantine works of the middle ages, while in other respects 
they are entirely modern. 

Mr. Haweis writes as charmingly as he paints. He 
has published The Book about the Sea Gardens and ha> 
contributed many articles to Vanity Fair and other Amer- 
ican and European periodicals. 


Toledo Museum of Art. 





J Forte Dei Marmi, Liguria 

2 A Fijian Village 

3 Loma Loma, Fiji 

4 Native House, Fiji 

$ Rotary Movement, Yakamololo 

6 Frieze Design, Yakamololo 

7 Turning Movement, Yakamololo 

8 Fijian Dance 

9 Emotional Movement, Yakamololo 
10 Fijian Dance 

1 1 Yakamololo, Three Girls 

12 Girls at Nataveira, Yakamololo 

13 Men on the Beach, Breadfruit Trees and Sound 

of the Reef 

14 By the Stream, Breadfruit Trees, Butterflies 

15 War Meke 

16 Bure Bure. Rewa River, Fiji. People of Colo 

1 7 Bure Bure. Rewa River, Fiji. People of Colo 

18 Spearing Fish on the Reef, Fiji 

19 Spearing Fish on the Reef 

20 Meke of Lakeba 

2 1 MOALA 

22 Indolence, Cocoanuts, Parrot Fish 

23 Mirami 

24 Sun, Thunder (Moala) 

25 Moonlight at Loma Loma, Lau Group 

26 A Solomoni Boy 

27 A Tongan Boy 

28 Loma Loma 

29 Evening — Carrying Pandanus Leaves 

30 ylllage of naroi, moala 

3 1 Papeete 

32 Papeete at Night 


33 Moorea 

34 Tahiti 

35 Na Aissama, a Fijian Village 

36 — 55 Drawings of Chiefs and Natives 

56 Young Grouper 

51 Isaac and Benjamin. Movement of Climbing a 
Cocoanut Tree 

58 Starlight and Spider Lilies 

59 Sea Garden Study for Mural Decoration 

60 Sea Garden Study for Mural Decoration 

61 Sea Garden Study for Mural Decoration 

62 Sea Garden Study for Mural Decoration 

63 Handline Fishing on Reef 

64 Vigilant Cay 

65 Sea Garden 

66 The Water Glass 

67 Killing the Barracuda 

68 The Bay, Whale Cay, Bahamas 

69 The Wickedest Mule in the Bahamas 

70 The Durgan 

71 Hooked Barracuda 

72 Bacchanal 

73 The Glassy Eyed Snapper 

74 Barracuda Leap 

75 The Sisters 

76 The Dancing Tree, Whale Cay 

77 Wild Dog 



Man}- of these works ot art are tor sale at reasonable 
prices, which may be had on applying at the Museum office. 




For Reference 

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from this library